This season Manulife is creating a movement of gratitude and paying it forward kindness during the Christmas season. We hope that by sharing our stories (as varied as they are) of #LifeAdvice and #gratitude we can amplify the conversation and encourage more people to think of sharing these types of kind gestures over the holidays.

Life advice sometimes comes to you in funny ways, and while some of our stories may seem a little strange, they all contain advice that we feel strongly about. BLUNTmoms is here to show that even on a bad day, there is something good that can occur, and that simple things sometimes make the biggest impact in your life

If ever you feel insecure, or unsure, intimidated or out of your depth- just exude confidence and it will eventually come.

Exude confidence. This was my teenage mantra. I combined the two words back in the early ‘90s, while making my way through the tumultuous high school years. It makes me laugh now, because I remember feeling like the word: exude was all encompassing, and ever so powerful. Broken hearts, mean girl drama, disappointments and, of course, hormones. Each of these were made easier, with my mantra backin’ me up.

I still cried myself to sleep sometimes, for reasons that I couldn’t have explained if I’d tried. (But all teen girls do that, don’t they?) My mantra, my own version of: fake it ‘til you make it, gave me the boost I needed.

When I look back now, I can see where I got my inspiration from. I never would’ve acknowledged it at the time, but I knew how important it was to be confident, because my mom taught me. It wasn’t just with her words. She knew I was watching her. She knew that her choices and way of life were being noted, by me – on a subconscious (stubborn, pretending-not-to-listen) level.

She lived her words of wisdom and over the years, luckily, they’ve seeped in.

My mom doesn’t allow herself to portray anything but confidence. Warm, welcoming confidence, not the arrogant, cocky type.

You see, my mom refuses to be held back or brought down by circumstance. When my dad decided that he wanted out of their marriage, her heart was broken and I’m sure her ego was hurting too. But, she didn’t let it break her. Instead, my mom chose that time to push forward. She continued on with her Master’s Degree (which she was in the middle of during the time of their separation). She went on to find new love and to remarry. My mom then took on all that came with her role, as the matriarch of a blended family. She also achieved great success in her work and exuded confidence while climbing that ladder. Nothing could stop her!

My mother has doubts and worries like anyone else, but when it comes to meeting her goals, she doesn’t let them stand in her way. She makes it happen. She doesn’t give in to insecurity. She won’t let others intimidate her. And, whatever path she finds herself on, she does so as a capable, confident woman.

Even now, at 65, she’s not afraid to challenge herself.

She’ll hop into her car and drive from her small town, taking on busy, 6 lane highways (with some reluctance) to get to my house. But she does it! Nothing would keep her away.

She’s learning to play Bridge.

She’s studying Spanish.

 She has even taken on woodworking, as a homage to her late father and has created some beautiful pieces.

In fact, the reason we’ve moved back to Canada, after spending the past 10 years in the UK, is because of my mom. I know that my daughters will be better people, with her in their lives. She builds their confidence with her words and she shows them just how amazing a girl can grow up to be.

Visit the Manulife blog for more details on what they are doing to share gratitude this month, or pop onto the #LifeAdvice hashtag on Twitter and start sharing the best life advice YOU have received! 

This post is sponsored by SPLASH Media Engagement on behalf of Manulife. 

@Manulife is asking you to spread some positive by thanking those in your life who have given you great #LifeAdvice. Take a moment to #PayItForward by thanking someone important to you.


Shannon Day is co-author of Martinis & Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe & WTF?! (a funny and heartwarming book & martini guide for moms). She is a freelance writer and blogger whose words and wit can be found at several online sites, including her own: Martinis & Motherhood. Get in touch with Shannon via Facebook or Twitter.


    • Hey Alison. She really is a great role model. We are lucky to have her! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  1. What a beautiful tribute!!!!
    I can certainly vouch for all those attributes as she was and still is, one of my most important mentors in life. She taught me strength – how to shift my perspective so that nothing could break me.
    She taught me grace – how to almost break (but not quite) with the appearance of looking like I know what I’m doing while simply trusting the fact, that eventually, I will know what I’m doing!!!!!
    She taught me gratitude – and I am grateful to have been influenced by her and even more so to have my girls influenced by her.
    Three gifts – strength, grace and gratitude- that I actively work to share with my three daughters.
    Very nice, Shan.

    • She’s a gem. There is no question about it! Thanks for saying all of these kind words, too. I’ll be sure to share them with her.

  2. What an inspirational story! I’m so glad you shared it with us! I need to write more stories about my mom! I love how you tied it in with your daughters!

    • Thanks Lisa. You should! I’m on a roll this week as I’ve just started another story about her. lol. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  3. Reading this post most certainly brought tears but also an opportunity for reflection.
    So often people consider leaving a legacy at the end of one’s career or even more often one ‘s life.
    Legacies almost by definition are left in perpetuity. Although almost all the life decisions I have made have been conscious and deliberate I have not until now considered the tremendous personal reward those decisions can bring.
    How lucky am I? I feel truly blessed by you and my beautiful (both inside and out) grandchidren
    Thank you Shan.

    • Hi Mom,
      This little tribute was the least I could do, after making you suffer through the hormone-infused hell of my teen years. Lol. At least we can laugh about that now. Right!? …

  4. what wonderful advice for a mother to pass down to her daughter. Your mum sounds absolutely delightful! Bridge, Spanish, AND wood working?! I’m impressed!

  5. Shannon,
    Thank you for sharing- in high school you exuded confidence! You exuded it in a way that drew more people towards you! Your mom was the epitome of a modern woman and ensured that your friends had the benefit of her wisdom and grace through you! I have always looked up to both of you over the years and treasure the positive impact our friendship has had on our individualities! I mean it! thank you for sharing and continuing to reflect and inspire us and other women on how wonderful it is to be a girl-friend and most of all a mother!
    xo Karla

    • Those high school years were certainly important times of growth for all of us, weren’t they?! And the growth continues on, into our grown ups lives. I thank you for your amazing words and for being a wonderful friend.

  6. Pingback: Exude it… | Shannon Day's Martinis & Motherhood

  7. I like your mum. As I read this it reminded me of when I realized that my mum although tough and strong had the same fears as I do as a mum. When I was a child she was my ROCK! She still is, but I remember the day I called her and said ” Wow, you are human just like me!” and she said “Yes, I am, but I am here for you no matter what.”

    Your mum rocks!!!

  8. Your mom was and continues to be my mentor, professionally and personally. I was always one step behind her and she was one of my best cheerleaders, support and guiding light. Barb was a busy woman but was never too busy to answer the phone and say ‘how can I help?’ She had a way of leading me to the answers I sought by asking questions that helped me clarify my thinking and solve my own problems. I used her effective methods often as a professional. But the best advice Barb has given me has been the importance of friendship maintenance. She often said that work will go on without you when you retire, and it has, but if you want friends for a lifetime , you have to be a friend and be present for your friends, even when life seems too busy to take the time to meet with them. Barb modelled ‘being present’ and we are friends to this day.

  9. Pingback: Exude it and it Will Come | Shannon Day's Martinis & Motherhood

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